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Jerry Costello 33, America 32, Illinois 32, Us 26, Mr. Lipinski 20, Libya 17, U.s. 16, United States 14, Benghazi 13, Georgia 11, Michigan 9, Israel 8, Costello 8, Washington 8, Pennsylvania 7, Jerry 7, Texas 7, Heaven 7, Romney 6, Chris Stevens 6,
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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News  News/Business. Live  
   coverage of House proceedings.  

    September 12, 2012
    5:00 - 7:59pm EDT  

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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 301 and the nays are 118. the bill is passed. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the the gentleman from new york, mr. turner to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3857 as amended on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk: h.r. 3857, a bill to amend the implementing recommendations of the 9/11 commission act of 2007, to require the secretary of homeland security to include as ineligible use the operational teams used by the local law enforcement by the security
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program and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill as amended. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are --
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 354 and the nays are 62. the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 355 and the nays are 62, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the the gentlewoman from california, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5865 on which the the yeas and nays are ordered as amended. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5865, a bill to promote the growth and competitiveness of american manufacturing. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill as amended. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of epresentatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 337. the nays are 77. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are --
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 339. the nays are 77. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> mr. speaker, i send two privileged reports from the committee of rules for filing
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under the rule. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 778, resolution providing for consideration of the joint resolution, house joint resolution 117, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes and providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 6335, to amend the balanced budget and deficit control act of 1985, to replace the sequester established by the budget control act of 2011. report to accompany house resolution 779, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 6213, to limit further taxpayer exposure from the loan guaranteed program established under title 17 of the energy policy act of 2005 and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed.
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the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, this is to notify you formally pursuant to rule 8 of the rules of the house of representatives that i have been served with a subpoena issued by the chesterfield, virginia, general district court civil for hearing testimony. after consultation with the office of general counsel i have determined that compliance with the subpoena is not consistent with the privileges and rights of the house. signed sincerely, c.j. johnson, constituent services representative. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now recognize one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and
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extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, the house isn't in order. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the house will be in order. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to recognize lance of center county, pennsylvania. this week on september 13, 2012, lance will be honored as the 2012 recipient of the navy league of central pennsylvania, lieutenant michael p. murphy's distinguished citizen award. the navy league of central pennsylvania is an organization designed to enhance challenges facing today's armed forces as well as advocating for the men and women who serve. the lieutenant michael p. murphy distinguished citizen award is given to a nonactive duty person who has character, distinguished military or civilian service and stature, draw wholesome comparison for which the council tries to promote.
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lance, chairman of the group, is known throughout central pennsylvania for his various community efforts which include the chamber of business and industry of center county, united way, volunteers of medicine, the boy scouts of america, the ymca, many other programs that benefit our community. i want to thank lance for his service to our community and i congratulate him on this distinguished award and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon rise? without objection. mr. defazio: recently the chinese consul general sent a letter to the mayor of a small city in my district. and the letter was followed up by personal visits by the vice counsel and the deputy general.
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under these circumstances we have some concerns. they're trying to pressure the mayor of the city of corvell to compel a local businessman to remove a measurial dedicated to free tibet and taiwan independence from his downtown building. it was characterized by the local newspaper as a shakedown because the original letter broadly hinted that it might be in corvell's best interest to cooperate. i am shock and appalled that apparently chinese diplomats have failed to read the constitution of the united states of america before traveling here to try to represent their country. this represents the basis of our representative democracy, our freedom of speech and our rights. and it will not be bullied by china or any other overseas interests. with that i yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of requests requested for mr. cicilline of rhode island for september 10 and 11, mr. culberson of texas for today until 3:30 p.m.. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from illinois, mr. lipinski, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. lipinski: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on
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the subject of my special order, honoring congressman jerry costello and his distinguished service in congress. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. lipinski: mr. speaker, i rise today to honor great legislator and personal friend, congressman jerry costello, who will retire at the house of representatives at the end of this 112th congress. jerry has long been known as one of the most respected and well-liked men of congress since he took office in 1988. it's my honor to lead this special order in his honor. i knew jerry before i was elected to congress in 2004 and i had the privilege to working in his congressional office in the mid 1990's. today we serve together on two house committees, the transportation and infrastructure committee and the science, space and technology committee. jerry has been an important mentor to me throughout my time here. i've always been impressed with his work on behalf of his constituents and his work to improve america's transportation network.
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he is someone who is here to get things done and he knows how to do it. his retirement from this body will be a loss to us all. congress will not be the same without jerry, and i know we will all benefit if we had more colleagues like him. there are a number of members on both sides of the aisle who want to speak so i'll continue with the rest of my speech later, if we have time, but right now i want to recognize the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio. mr. defazio: i thank the gentleman for yielding. we could devote much more than an hour to jerry costello's career in congress. i've sat next to jerry on the transportation and infrastructure committee for more than two decades. and there is no more knowledgeable, dedicated advocate in the united states congress, most recently on
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aviation issues, but across the board on infrastructure issues which underlie our economy and our productivity and our growth than jerry costello. his work has been phenomenal. he has done more than i could have imagined in his period of time, and we will miss him. i will at this point extend my remarks further in my congratulations to him upon a well and hard-earned retirement. with that i'll yield my time back to the gentleman. mr. lipinski: i yield to the gentleman from alaska, mr. young. mr. young: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i apologize to my good friends but this has to be a two-way street, bipartisan, because i do believe that jerry was an example of the congress that i
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knew and loved and when we worked together to solve problems and jerry was very good at that. i as chairman of the transportation committee, we worked through with jim oberstar and we never had an adversarial vote in that whole period of time because he did believe in bipartisanship to build transportation, not only in his district, but the nation as a whole, and jerry was a gentleman at all times. sometimes i get a little excited. he would remind me as the chairman maybe i could be a little bit more kinder. i told him that doesn't always work. i work for jerry. and i do respect his capability not only serving his district but making sure that this nation had a transportation system in place that would serve this whole nation. i look forward to jerry's retirement. in a sense i'm sure he'll do great things after this, but we will miss his time in congress, and as a republican i definitely will miss him and i
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do thank jerry. mr. lipinski: thank you, mr. young. i want to recognize now the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. and i want to thank my friend from illinois, mr. lipinski, for yielding to me. when i think of jerry costello, i think of the fact that those of us in illinois sort of had two go-to members of the transportation committee for many years. bill lipinski, who is the congressman's father, and jerry costello. we used to call them the gold dust twins. and one of the reasons is because they had such a great relationship and worked cooperatively to make sure that our state, the state of
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illinois, the home of abraham lincoln, was well taken care of in terms of infrastructure. but they also worked for the entire country. i had an opportunity to travel with jerry and his wonderful wife a number of times and, of course, she is a delightful lady who's a higher education administrator, the president of a community college. and other members of their family are engaged in public service as well as what they do privately. i've never known a more congenial member of this body, any other legislative body that i've served in than jerry costello. i think he's actually too young to retire, and so i got a feeling that he's got some other things on his mind, some
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other things that he's going to do and i think we'll still be fishing down in the east st. louis area and making sure that the catfish and the other creatures out there give up their habitat and become members of the landed. so, jerry, take care of yourself. have all the fun that you can, but i'm certain that there is something else that you're going to be doing. so i thank you, mr. speaker and mr. lipinski. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. lipinski: thank you, mr. davis. next one i recognize is the gentleman from connecticut, mr. larson. mr. larson: i thank the gentleman from illinois, mr. lipinski, for organizing this hour and i concur with my colleagues that an hour is not nearly enough to highlight the
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virtues and certainly the public service of our distinguished colleague, jerry costello. jerry, as already been said, and his lovely wife, georgia, their beautiful family. we're all very happy and proud that he will be joined with them in whatever endeavor he does. we know he will bring the kind of energy, the kind of commitment and the kind of integrity that he's brought to the floor of the house. . a historian has written a significant history about the house. and in his book, he talks about the character of the people that serve here. i'm proud to say that i have had the opportunity to serve with someone who is so genuine and
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cares deeply about this institution. his home state of illinois and the people he has served with. he does it the old-fashioned way , the lipinski way, with a handshake and commitment and always looking you directly in the eye. as don young from alaska indicated, he also has the great capacity to reach across the aisle, understanding implicitly that things don't get done unless we're capable of working together. an incredible wry sense of humor, always sage advice and incredible understanding of politics, not only in the local flavor of his great state of illinois, but also the ebb and
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flow of business here on the floor of the house of representatives. he is honored by his colleagues and respected not only for his professionalism, but most of all, because of the integrity that he brings to this floor each and every day. he will be sorely missed and an honor to have smbd with him. i look forward to a continued relationship with this great man from illinois, jerry costello. thank you. mr. lipinski: thank you, mr. larson. next, i want to recognize the gentleman from missouri, mr. clay. mr. clay: let me thank my friend from illinois for yielding, mr. lipinski, and let me say, mr. speaker, i rise today to honor migrate friend and colleague, the distinguished senior member
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from illinois, mr. costello. let me also mention that mr. costello served in previous congresses with my father. so he was here when i got here and our districts are just across the river from each other. he represents southern illinois, and i represent the city of st. louis, the gateway to the west. as he prepares to retire, at the conclusion of the 112th congress, congressman costello has been a trusted friend and mentor to me for the last 12 years. when i first arrived as a freshman member to congress in 2001, congressman costello was here to greet me and guide me along the right path.
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and over the years, i have continued to rely on the good advice and wise counsel. his departure is a great loss for the state of illinois, the citizens of the 12th district and the st. louis regional delegation. for the last 24 years, mr. costello has been a tireless advocate for southern illinois and metro east. and he has been a champion for rebuilding and enhancing our transportation infrastructure. the magnificent new mississippi river bridge that is currently under construction, will be a powerful symbol of his legacy of
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leadership. congressman costello has also been the patron saint of scott air force base, the largest employer in southern illinois. our region, and indeed, our nation are stronger because of his continued efforts to preserve and expand this vital national defense asset. mr. speaker, i consider it a great blessing to have had the opportunity to serve with congressman costello and to call him my good friend. i honor him for his service to his state, the st. louis region and our nation. and i salute him on a remarkable congressional career. and i yield back the balance of my time. mr. lipinski: i recognize the gentlelady from illinois, ms.
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schakowsky. ms. schakowsky: let me thank the gentleman, mr. lipinski for organizing this opportunity to come to the floor today and recognize the remarkable achievements of our dear friend, my dear friend, representative jerry costello. i want to thank jerry, my friend and colleague, for his 24 years of remarkable outstanding service to his district, to illinois and to the country. and although he's retiring at the end of this congress, i know that his impact will be long lasting. since arriving in congress in 1999, i have been very fortunate to have jerry costello to rely on for advice, guidance and support and as you hear from one member after another who gets up and says the same thing, you can see how jerry costello has been a friend to so many on both sides of the aisle.
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when i came he and then representative ray lahood conveyed routine meetings of the illinois house delegation to discuss how to meet the needs of our state. a fierce advocate, jerry was eager to help all parts of the state to obtain federal assistance and meet needs of our constituents. our delegation may have had some disagreements on policy, but we were firmly united under jerry's leadership and our desire to bring funding to illinois to bring jobs to illinois, access cease to health-care and promote businesses. it wasn't until i was in congress for a while longer that i rillsed that not every state delegation met in this manner. it was because of his leadership, his dedication to getting things done and his ability to work in a bipartisan manner that the illinois delegation could get together
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not just to talk but to achieve concrete results. throughout his career, jerry has been a real work horse. as senior member of the transportation and infrastructure committee and ranking democrat on the aviation subcommittee, he has shaped transportation policy and is responsible for unprecedented improvements for aviation safety. he is an expert on transportation issues and known for protecting the interests of travelers, riders and rights of transportation workers and brought his policy interests to other areas as well, his role on the science and space and technology committee. jerry costello is the go-to leader of the illinois house delegation and easy to say why. it is not just that he loves the state of illinois and the house of representatives. it is not just that he can put together strategies to pass
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legislation or bring federal assistance to his district. it is his entire being, a calm, but determined demeanor, a commonsense approach to problem-solving and welcoming attitude for his beloved constituents and his colleagues. throughout my time in congress, jerry has been generous in sharing with me his time and talents and for that, i'm extremely grateful. i'm so happy to know jerry's wonderful wife georgia. georgia is the president of the southwestern illinois college and advocate tore for the illinois green economy network and brings public service to improving the community. your record of accomplishments is enormous and while you may be retiring from the house of representatives, i know that you and georgia will continue to
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work to inspire and improve the lives of the people of illinois. i thank you for your friendship that i hope will endure and all that you have done for our great state. and i yield back. mr. lipinski: thank you, ms. schakowsky for your comments and next, i want to recognize the gentlelady from texas who serves on the transportation and infrastructure and ranking member of the space, science and technology committee, ms. eddie berne ease johnson. ms. johnson: thank you very much for reserving this hour and thank you for allowing me to speak in honor of a very cherished colleague and a dear
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friend in the u.s. house of representatives. congressman jerry costello, after 24 years of dedicated service, is retiring. and that is a very tall order for me to accept, because i have served with him on both of his major committees from the time i have come to congress 20 years ago. and appears to be, starting this term a part of people who came here to work across the aisles. when i think of mr. alaska, when i think of mr. lahood, i think of the comradery we have shared on the committees working together to get things done and look up and many of them are leaving. it is so unfortunate that we are losing such a stellar example of the commitment needed to be even
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effective public servant. he began his public service at an early age working in law enforcement while attending college. he has built his career on bipartisanship and depend built and has always kept the needs of his constituents and the american people foremost in his mind and close to his heart. congressman costello is a devoted family man, who treasures his wife, georgia, and their three children and eight grandchildren. and i have shared with georgia a trip around the world where we became almost like family. unique perspective and be much more effective as a member of congress. i remember one time we went on the trip and at the last minute georgia couldn't go and we ended up being seat mates all the way
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and he said at the end, i enjoyed you being my seat mate, but you'll never be georgia, and he was right. i have had the distinct pleasure of working closely with congressman costello on both the house committee on transportation and infrastructure and science, space and technology. as a matter of fact, i might be ranking member had he chose to use his seniority to become the ranking member of science, space and technology. he is an effective legislator and has shown unwavering commitment to furthering scientific research and building our nation's infrastructure. having served as chairman and ranking member of the aviation subcommittee with the congressman from wisconsin, petri, just like two brothers, they have been in my district
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where we did work together. on a very bipartisan basis to improve the safety and innovation of the aviation industry. mr. speaker, the bonds that we fought with our colleagues in congress, unlike anything else, you become closer in friendship and you begin to see people as individuals. these last two years, however, has not been -- congressman costello and i developed over the years a very special relationship. the house of representatives is losing a distinguished colleague and one of those on the old guard that we call the bipartisan focus on goodness people. congressman costello, i will miss you dearly. i wish him well and i wish his family the best in future endeavors.
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and i do hope that this is not the last of the van issuing breed of the persons who came here to work and get things done and not be so partisan. i really will miss the friendship we shared. jimmy duncan, young, lahood, all the people who can see beyond partisanship. thank you. mr. lipinski: next i recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. altmire. . . >> we've spent a lot of time talking about what a great person jerry costello is, which is true. he's a kind and decent man, he's a friend to nearly everybody in this institution. we can continue and take the entire hour just talking about what a fine person jerry costello is.
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but when you look at the legislative record over the decades of service he has offered to his constituency and to the country, there's a few things that stand out. jerry costello, on the transportation committee, has a long and lasting record of many achievements. mr. altmire: but he also has a lot of things he's done back home that those of us in washington maybe don't see every day. for example, when the base closing and realignment coalition slated for closing new york jerry's dict, he did what is nearly impossible. he got the realignment commission to review the facts, he had that decision overturned, and he saved that military base and the thousands of jobs that go with it for his district. that's something that is a lasting achievement he can be proud of. when you look at things on the transportation committee that have lasting significance, changing the law to bep fit all americans, there was a tragic,
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terrible catastrophe and air disaster in buffalo several years ago. jerry costello took the lead in this congress and this country in changing the laws dealing with pilot fatigue and the requirements for the pilots and the planes. that's going to save lives around this country. that's going to avert that type of disaster in the future. that happened because ofierry costello's leadership. so mr. speaker, when we think about the lasting contributions that jerry costello has, yes, many of them are personal. many of them have to do with the relationships he built, the friendships he'll carry forward into his new career, but let's also remember the many significant legislative achievements for his district that are unparalleled to anyone else in this institution. jerry, we wish you the best. we're going to miss you. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. lipinski: thank you, mr. altmire. next i want to recognize the democratic whip, the gentleman
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from maryland, mr. hoyer. mr. hoyer: i want to thank my friend, congressman lipinski, for taking up this special order for someone that has been regaled, as i understand it, earlier, before i came to the floor, by his cloogs -- colleagues who know him best. this is a body in which you get to know people. you get to know their character, their personality. their civility. their effectiveness. their work ethic. their patriotism. their willingness to work with others. on all those counts, all of his colleagues found jerry costello to be one of the best among them. ierry costello came to this congress in the election of 1988. he has been my colleague for all the years he's served in this house.
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i was privileged to come just a few years before jerry costello. i was elected by the -- he was elected by the people of illinois. he was elected by the people of illinois after an extraordinary career early in life as a young man not only attending to the court system of illinois but also as the county executive, the leader, of one of the largest counties in illinois. chosen because of his judgment, chosen because of his good sense, his common sense, chosen because of his effectiveness as a representative of the people. there's not been a day that has gone by that i have served with jerry costello that i did not have all of those affirmations affirmed. here in this house. so i rise with my friend, mr. lipinski, honor jerry costello.
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we're going to have the opportunity to serve withierry costello for another three months at least, he's very much alive. this is not eulogy. jerry costello is someone who is still a young man. for whom i see a very bright future. in whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue, he will be successful. and with whomever he works, they will be advantaged. whatever he does, i know that we're all going to stay in close touch with jerry costello. the preceding speaker and i know mr. lipinski, he now serves on the transportation and infrastructure committee a critical committee on the -- of the congress of the united states, one of the most important in terms of growing jobs and expanding our economy because it invests in the infrastructure which is the underpinnings of a growing economy my friend, mr. lipinski, who has fought so
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hard for legislation to expand manufacturing and make it in america -- a make it in america agenda item and focus on making sure we had an infrastructure that supported manufacturing and distribution of goods and the goods -- the transportation of goods to our shore it is to be sent abroad for purchase by our trading partners. jerry costello was part of the leadership of two of the major transportation bills that passed this house in recent years. ensuring not only that illinois received particular attention, but that america received particular attention. every part of this america. in the best traditions of a congressman coming, yes, and representing his district effectively, but understanding that his responsibility was to all of america. jerry costello has fulfilled that expectation with flying
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colors and great effectiveness. we're going to miss jerry costello. i want to tell jerry costello, i hope he's listening, i want to tell him ha -- i want to tell him we have a few days left to go and i'm going to look forward to working with him. i'm hopeful that in the lame duck session, we'll address one of the most vexing problems confronting this country that is getting ourselves on a fiscally sustainable path. i expectierry costello to be in the leadership of that effort as he's been in the leadership of so many efforts. and again, congressman lipinski, i want to thank you for your leadership, for your service, for your commitment to the same kinds of things that jerry costello has been committed to in building up this country and making sure that average working men and women have jobs and that we expanded our economy. by investing in our commifment so it's appropriate that you lead this special order on
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behalf of a kindred soul, jerry costello. you and he represent a real leadership on behalf of growth and jobs and economic success in america. so we thank jerry costello for his service. but we look forward to working with him in whatever capacity he chooses to follow in the years ahead. i yield back my time to the gentleman from illinois. mr. lipinski: thank you, mr. hoyer. i want to wrap up here, continue on talking about jerry, i know jerry has been extremely popular among his constituents, he's a lifelong resident of the district and always has been focused on helping them. he was born in east st. louis, illinois, attended assumption
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high school there and graduated from southwestern illinois college and mary veil university across the mississippi river in st. louis. after graduating with a graduates degree, he worked in various positions, culminating with his election to the house of representatives in august of 1988 in a special election. he was known then and is still known today as a person with that special ethic and earnestness to roll up his sleeves and get the job done. since that time, his accomplishments have been numerous and outstanding. we've heard from many of our colleagues before this about some of his accomplishments and i could spend hours staying up here listing them all. some of his most important recent accomplishments include helping the -- to pass four national highway investment bills, seven federal aviation administration bills and helping secure funds for a new
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mississippi river bridge for the residents of illinois and missouri. he has a great reputation for delivering for his district. a couple of examples include helping prevent the closure of scott air force base the largest employer south of springfield, and helping extend metrolinks to st. clair county, providing public transportation to many thousands of people hetch received recognition as a leading advocate for farmers and many other causes, including the arts and for multiple sclerosis. his dedication to an effective transportation network in the u.s. remained steadfast throughout his keer. as mr. altmire mentioned a perfect example of this is his drafting and passing of the pilot training improvement act of 2009. in response to a tragic plane crash in 2009 in new york that killed 51 due to lack of rest
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for the pilots, jerry wrote a bill that made requirements for pilot rest much more strain gent this legislation resulted in safer travel for millions of americans. the legislation is the last -- is a lasting reminder of the fine work jerry has done while in congress. during his time, jerry has sat on positions of leadership as chairman of the house aviation subcommittee on the transportation and infrastructure committee, now serving as ranking member, as well as ranking member on the subcommittee on space and err naughtics, within the science, space, and technology committee. he's always worked in a bipartisan manner on those committees, doing everything he could to make those committees work. i and this legislative body will miss mr. costello and the leadership he provided. we can take comfort knowing he'll be able to spend more time with his wife, georgia,
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who serves her community as president of southwestern illinois college, their three children, jerry, geena, and john patrick, and their eight grandchildren, jay, austin, rory, ireland, jerry, victoria, georgia, and john patrick. he will undoubtedly continue to serve his neighbors and the residents of southwest illinois in his day-to-day activities. so please join me in honoring jerry costello for his tireless hard work, dedication, and skill serving the people of america and illinois. i congratulate jerry, thank him for all he has done for his constituents and for his nation, i thank you, jerry, for your mentorship here in congress, and i wish you the best as you retire from the house of representatives. i know other speakers before me said that jerry is much too young to retire.
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i'm sure there are many great things he'll be doing and he will always be remembered as a great man who served his country and served his constituents of quil. we will certainly miss him here and we can certainly use more jerry costellos in this body. with that, i will yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from michigan, mr. ben check, is recognized for 60 minutes as designee of the majority leader. mr. benishek: thank you for allowing me to be here this evening. as many of you may know, before coming to congress, i was a physician in northern michigan for nearly 30 years. and tonight, i want to spend a little time talking to you
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about health care, medicare, the president's health care bill, and just health care in general. in practice, many of my patients were on medicare, and i know how important medical care is to our seniors. it's an important part of their ability to take care of themselves as they get older. and really, the reason i'm here today is to explain that the g.o.p. and the republicans want to preserve medicare for our current seniors and for the youth that are coming up because right now, the way medicare is organized, the trust fund will be out of money within 10 to 12 years. different accountants have different numbers. but basically, unless we do something, we're going to run
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out of money. and we just don't want that to happen. i want to see people still have access to their care. and in discussing this issue, it seems as if we have been attacked for trying to end medicare but if you see that there's a problem with a system that is running out of money and you don't address it, then that's just -- that's just not right. the doctors' caucus in the house is 18 physicians, nurses, and denties -- dentists that represent different areas of the country and we have a good understanding of health care as it exists right now in america. certainly there's problems with health care and access to it. i think that really the problem is that we have great health care in america, the problem is it's too expensive. and frankly, you know, the president's health care bill
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makes it more difficult to keep medicare viable. . those are a few of the things i want to talk to you about this evening and talk to you about how the system is working and how we can improve it. i mean, i don't think it's a partisan issue, i think it's something we need to discuss. and frankly, i just don't think some of the people that have passed these laws understood what they were doing. they admitted the fact they passed the bill without really knowing what was in it. and i just don't think that's a good idea. what is the problem with medicare? the problem is that the population of our country is changing. there is more older citizens than there were. in other words, there's 10,000
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new medicare beneficiaries being added each day. there -- right now a little over three people who are paying into the system for every person that's collecting. because of the large numbers of people that are being added to the rolls, within a few years, there is only going to be two people paying in for each person collecting. and that creates a problem in the fact that there aren't many people paying and receiving benefits and with the cost of health-care going up, it just makes it a fiscal cliff. the other big problem that we see in the medicare situation is the fact that the president's health-care law, in order to pay for it, takes $700 billion out of medicare. well, that's a lot of money to take out of medicare and still expect it to provide, you know,
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care for our seniors moran more of which are coming onto it every day. there are some waste, fraud and abuse that can be eliminated, and that will help, but it's just not enough. we have to change the system. and the system that i think we should change to, frankly, is the the system of paul ryan and senator wyden of idaho, where we can put people less than age 55, that will allow them to choose between different insurance programs like members of congress have. and these private plans would be inspected and reviewed by the government to be sure that they're adequate, and give people some flexibility in how
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they spend their money. one of the problems i see with medicare is that the government ends up deciding how to spend the money, rather than the patient. the patient, to me, is whose money it is. the people who are spending the money should be the ones who are deciding how it's spent, not some government person or bureaucrat in washington. show me the slide on the $700 billion and show people the slide that demonstrates what's happened to this money. now i represent the northern half of michigan. and we have many small towns and small hospitals in my district. every little town has a community hospital. and it's hours sometimes to the next facility. and this slide here shows the $760 billion coming out of the medicare program.
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$294 billion of that money is payments to hospitals. so the president described his medicare as cutting waste and overpayments to providers. these hospitals are the ones that are providing the care. and i would be a provider as well. but when you cut $295 billion from our local hospitals. i know, i served on the board of a hospital. our hospitals are operating on a razor-thin profit margin. they have to stay in the black, otherwise can't make their payroll. we recently had a hospital in our district go bankrupt because of payments problems from medicare. if we go forward to allow this president's health-care bill continue, $156 billion is cut
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from advantage. $111 billion from ipab and $66 billion from home health-care. $33 billion from medicare providers and $17 billion from hospice care. these are crucial programs for our seniors. with moran more seniors coming onto the program, how are they going to be provided care with less money? i don't see it happening. what is going to happen, there will be fewer hospitals and fewer patients to get care. it's going to be difficult in my district and travel hundreds of mile to get seen. dr. harris, another member of the doctor's caucus is here
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tonight and he is from maryland and -- mr. harris: will the gentleman yield? if the gentleman would yeed for a question, of the money that will be transfer to pay for the president's new health-care reform bill, that doesn't include over $300 billion cuts in provider payments for the next 10 years, is that correct? mr. benishek: that's correct. mr. harris: in addition to the $700 billion, another $300 billion that will be cut from payments to providers. and here's the problem. the gentleman from michigan points it out. medicare is going broke, and it's going broke, not only because $700 billion was taken out of it to pay for the president's affordable care act but another $300 billion out will be taken out in the
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physician payment formula. and the actuary, the department that runs medicare and medicaid projects that the medicare program could be bankrupt as soon as 2016. four years from now, the medicare program could be bankrupt. now i'm glad as part of this november's elections, we're going to discuss the future of health-care for our seniors, because it is time to say that the emperor has no clothes. our seniors no it. they know that when they go, god forbid their physician retires and try to find another physician and they are on medicare, they already know how hard it is to find a physician who can accept them because the reimbursements are already so low. the payments to physicians are so low already, it's hard to find that primary care doctor, it's hard to find that
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specialist that needs to take care of you, whether blood pressure, diabetes or whatever problem you have. and the problem is only going to get worse. now the president in his budget doesn't deal with it at all. he present tends that medicare will go on forever and ever just the way it is now. that's just not true. the center for medicare and medicaid say it could go broke in four years. the actuary give us the longest lifetime, 10 more years. well, mr. speaker, if you are 55 now, that means by the time you're 65, it's broke. if you are 61, according to the center for medicare, it's broke by the time you are age 65. if you are on it now and 70, it could be broke by the time you are 74. we have to stop pretending that
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the medicare program is going to work forever the way it is now. it won't. because the president took $700 billion to pay for the apordable care act. there is a schedule of over $300 billion over the next 10 years. and our seniors are already having problems finding those physicians. but the medicare costs, if we don't do anything right now and don't deal with the program and adjust it for people who are younger and all of a sudden, my son is an accountant, he knows numbers better than i was, he is convinced he will never see a medicare program. medicare costs are projected to grow from 3.5% of our economy to 5.5% by 2035 and the president has no plan to pay for that
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growth. we know because of the maturing and retiring of the baby boom generation that this is coming. this is predictable. we can project this. we know that if we don't change the medicare program to preserve it for future generations and to keep it for the current generation of medicare recipients, it goes broke. and as i mentioned, the patient payment formula in medicare needs to be fixed or starting january 1, payments to physicians and providers may go down 30%. now, mr. speaker, if our seniors think it's hard to find someone to take care of them now on medicare, what do they think it's going to be like when the government says to those physicians, we are going to pay you 30% less starting january 1. and this is scheduled to happen. the president has no plan.
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the president suggested no ideas to congress on how to deal with that. what we need is leadership on health-care. and we're not getting it from the other end of pennsylvania avenue. already access is an issue because back in 2008, 12% of physicians have said they have to stop seeing medicare patients. we know now that a much larger number limit the number of medicare patients they care for. as the gentleman from michigan knows, we didn't go to medical school to not take care of patients or have our staff answer a senior calling to say, i'm sorry, but we can't afford to take care of you, but that's exactly the position that the president planned for medicare is putting physicians and patients in right now. that's the sad fact.
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this emperor has no clothes. the medicare program is on a path to bankruptcy and there is no plan from the white house to solve that problem. it merely kicks the can down the road. we have heard a lot in the last few days and few weeks about simpson-bowles. if we just adopt the commission's report, all our fiscal problems go away. mr. speaker, as you probably know, simpson-bowles decided not to do anything about social security and medicare. now social security, it turns out, is pretty solvent. it will be there for at least another 20 years, giving us a fair amount of time to solve the problems for future generations. but again, the center for
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medicare says we may only have four years to solve the medicare problem before it goes bankrupt. and if our seniors right now think they have problems now, getting their health-care and finding primary care doctors, imagine when the program goes bankrupt. now, we have a choice. we can deal with it or kick the can down the road. i'm proud of vice presidential candidate, one of our colleagues, mr. ryan, has decided that the time to kick the can down the road is over. it's time to tell our seniors and americans what they suspect. we have been making promises. we have no way of keeping. we have been spending money we don't have.
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and it has to stop. and if the gentleman from michigan knows, we have some principles in our plan to deal with the bankruptcy of medicare, because, mr. speaker, it's not a question of if, it's only a question of when. first principle is, we don't change it for anyone over age 55. if you are in retirement or near retirement, you get to keep the very same program right now, but we deal with the fact that physician and provider pay would be cut january 1. we solve that problem. we say you can't do that. we deal with that issue. we say you have to stop taking $700 billion from the program to pay for the president's new health-care reform, to cover americans who don't insurance now by taking it from medicare patients who do have insurance.
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. . the first principle, for those over 55, no changes. if they're under 55, the program will be bankrupt when you reach 65 if you don't do something. so we're going to make commonsense adjust pts. we say you should have access to the same kind of care congressmen and women have. a broad range of plans you can choose from with the guarantee for at least two of those plans you will have 100% coverage. look, we all turn on the tv, we hear the ads. mr. ryan's plan will cost $120,000 for every senior or $200,000 in more costs. here's the problem. people who made the ads didn't read the bill. the bill spells it out quite clearly. our plan is that you'll have --
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that seniors, again, people age 55, when they reach age 65, will have a choice of plans just like we have here in congress. the only difference is, we have to pay part of all our plans, they don't pay for the two lowest price plans. if they choose a plan with more options, they may pay something. but they will end up paying even less than they do now. that's our solution. let market forces come in and control the cost of health care, control that growth and cost, and allow real coverage for our seniors, for our people age 55, when they reach age 65, and preserve it for future generations. so that my son, the accountant, can look at that plan and say you know what, this balances. you don't have to borrow money from the chinese to pay for this plan. we don't have to raise taxes to pay for this plan.
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we actually let market forces work, providing the same coverage you -- that people in congress get. and it will work. so mr. speaker, i'm very glad we have the opportunity to talk about this tonight. i'm very glad that this november and the months leading up to it, we'll have an honest, frank discussion with the american people about the future of health care. future of health care for our seniors, preserving it. and the future of health care for everyone else under the president's affordable care scheme. we know there are problems with it. americans understand that when you put the government in charge of something, so vital and personal as health care, real problems can occur. and as the gentleman from michigan pointed out, we know those problems. they're predictable problems. a majority of americans figured
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it out. poll after poll after poll says, we should deal with the president's health care reform act by repealing it and replacing it, keeping elements that are good, you know, every american either has a pre-existing condition or will have one in their lifetime. every american. so our plan will have to deal with it. and it does deal with it. and for those people who want to have their children on their policies up until age 25, our plan can deal with it and does deal with it. but we certainly don't need the independent payment advisory board, which the gentleman from michigan is going to discuss, that is going to run health care for medicare, we certainly don't need the secretary of health and human services prescribe what plans are going to cover what for every single american whether you want it or not, you're paying for it in
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your plan. we know that's only going to drive up the cost. so i'm glad we're going to have that discussion with the american people. mr. speaker, every american's health care is so important to them and their family. they deserve this discussion. they deserve the chance to go to the ballot box this november and make a choice about what their health care is going to look like in the future. we're going to have a clear choice. it's going to be a government-run health care plan, run by a bureaucrat where costs and access are controlled and rationed or it's going to be one where the patient and their physician make the choice about their health care. with the government bureaucrats staying out of it where they belong. so i want to thank the gentleman from michigan for yielding time and i yield the time back.
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mr. benishek: thank you. i appreciate the gentleman for taking the time to be with us tonight and give us his insight as a physician here on the floor. i'd like to say a few words about ipab. this is the independent payment advisory board. this is the mechanism that mr. obama's health care plan has for controlling costs. and really what it is it's 15 appointed bureaucrats, each making $165,000 a year work no congressional oversight, whose only purpose is to reduce medicare spending. so if the medicare budget goes up too much and is over the limit, these guys in washington are going to decide what to cut. they're going to decide if, you know, you deserve a p.s.a. prostate test or a mammogram or a colonoscopy. they're going to decide that they may not pay for that. i mean, if we don't act, this
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board could begin making these kinds of decisions as soon as 2015. and denial of payment for care is going to really lead to denial of care for our patients and our seniors. i don't really think it's fair for the washington bureaucrats who know nothing about the patient to be making decisions. i'm used to taking care of patients, sometimes you have to make some difficult decisions. but those decisions have been made between, you know, the physician, the patient and the family. not some bureaucrat in washington who doesn't know the patient, can't decide, you know, if this patient really qualifies for care and should not be denied. so i just think it's so wrong to allow bureaucrats that don't know the patient to be making these decisions. and i want to show, people understand the seriousness of this, there's no appeal from this board. there's no getting somebody off this board once they're
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appointed. it's really unbelievable. tonight also i'm -- i have the pleasure of being joined by my colleague from new york, a nurse, ms. buerkle from new york, thank you for joining us. ms. buerkle: thank you very much to my friend and colleague in michigan. thank you for having this special order tonight. i think it's so critical, mr. speaker, that when the docs caucus has this event and the people who are speaking are people who are passionate about health care and many of us actually came to congress because we were so concerned regarding the affordable care act. i spent my life as a nurse and later on as an attorney who represented a large teaching hospital. and so i -- i'm passionate about health care and as my colleague before me mentioned, there's nothing more personal, nothing more personal, than one's health care. and this nation has the highest quality of health care and we want to make sure we maintain
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the standard that we have. i think without -- i don't think anyone would disagree, mr. speaker that this country needs health care reform. and while this law may have been the most well intentioned, i agreed with -- i disagreed with it philosophically when i ran for congress. now that i'm in congress and had the opportunity to speak to so many folks in my district, this law this affordable care act that was supposed to decrease the cost of health care and increase access for americans is not going to do that. let me just if i could, talk just briefly about what's going on in my district my district is heavy with eds and meds. we have a lot of hospitals in my district, they're the major employers. the hospitals have spoken to me, they're concerned because this obamacare law will decrease the amount of disproportionate share moneys they give because they treat a population of patients who may
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not have insurance or are underinsured. they're concerned about their fiscal integrity. those are hospitals, providers. the affordable care act doesn't address the s.g.r. fix, the medicare reimursment -- reimbursement for physicians. i have physicians who are concerned. it also creates a scenario where we won't have enough primary care physicians, internal medicine, psychiatry, those type of physicians who can render the care. so the providers are concerned. the actual people and facilities who render the care. they're concerned that this law is going to adversely affect them. that's my first concern my second concern are my seniors. in all of this discussion and debate, the most disingenuous discussion going on out there is the denial as to what this law will do to seniors and their medicare coverage. i think my colleague ahead of me talked about the moral obligation we have to our seniors.
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we have a contract with them that when you retire, when you turn 65, medicare, you've paid into it all your life and you will be able to have that benefit. but this law, this affordable care act, cuts medicare by $716 billion. now there's no program in the world that will not be affected by the los of that much funding. and the funding is being taken out of medicare and it's going to be used to fund the rest of the entitlement in this law system of seniors really need to understand the threat to medicare as we know it. is this affordable care act. it has changed medicare as we know it for our seniors. and this law will affect everyone who is on medicare, the discussion about the ryan budget and the budget we passed out of the house, that discussion is only for those who are 54 and younger. so anyone who is 55 and above
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with the republican proposal for medicare can take a deep breath and say, my contract with this country, my benefit through medicare will not be touched and i can rely and count on that. that's a very important promise we can make to our seniors. but this affordable care act can't make that promise to our seniors because it is cutting medicare. as my colleague from michigan talked about this -- talked about, this ipab board will also affect the kinds of services our seniors receive. it is every american, especially our senior, should be concerned about this law that is in place that will go into effect in 2013 and 2014. we've heard from the hospitals and physicians that are unhappy with this law. we heard from seniors, they're not happy with this law. i hear from my businesses, my small businesses, those entities that were trying to get this economy going and they're concerned because they don't know how this law is going to affect them. they don't know whether or not they're going to have to pay the penalty or pay the tax.
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they're very concerned because of the uncertainty this creates in their businesses. and so they sit on cash and don't invest and they don't hire system of my small businesses don't like this affordable care act. now just recently, and we've had a lot of debate about the tax on small medical devices and tissue that will occur to any small medical device producer in the country. that's a nearby sort of industry, to -- a niche sort of industry, one of the only sectors of the economy that's grown. it requires r&d, it requires innovation, it requires real creative production of small medical devices. i have a well known company in my district and on monday of this week, they announced they will cut 10% of their work force. directly related to two things. the first is that 2.3% tax, excise tax on small medical device producers.
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10% of that work force. will be done away with because of this affordable care act. and the other reason they're cutting their work force is because of the tax and also because of the fact that with this affordable care act, hospitals and physicians are not buying new equipment because they, too, are uncertain as to what the affordable care act is going to do to them and their business. they're not buying new equipment for their hospitals and offices. so now we've got seniors, hospitals, physicians, small medical device companies, businesses, very concerned at how this law is going to affect them. the court ruled that it's a tax and that's why it's constitutional. there's 21 new taxes in this affordable care act. it's going to affect our jobs, and our economy. it's going to aft our small businesses. it's not the right direction for this country. and only the practical listening to people over and over again in the district puts
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that out very, very clearly. and so, it really, i think, the right thing to do for this nation and this house, i'm so proud we voted to repeal this law twice. we also voted in june to repeal the tax on small medical devices. that's the right thing to do. the responsible thing to do is enact true health care reform that will really reduce the cost of health care, that will allow patients choice, that will allow home to cross state lines to buy their insurance, allow them to keep their insurance even if they lose their job. it will have tort reform in it, and bring down this cost -- bring down the cost of health care and repeal the excise tax on small medical devices. it will keep the good pieces and the two things i hear over and over again, pre-existing condition and my colleague from maryland mentioned it, pre-existing condition, along with keeping your child on your plan until they're 26. .
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and they could be incorporated in a truly reformtive health-care law in this country. i thank you for your dedication to the health-care profession and proud to be a member of the doctors' caucus. we are passionate about making sure that the united states of america maintains its high quality of health-care and also keeps costs and accessibility to the highest standard for the people who live in this country. i thank my colleague and yield back. mr. benishek: i thank my colleague for speaking this evening. in my district, we have a couple of companies who make the drills for orthopedic surgeons where they put in the screws and that sort of thing. and this tax, 2.3% tax not on
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their profits, but on their gross. so even a small start-up company that is trying to innovate, which we have in my district and create a device that will help people with care, they are losing money. they have to pay the tax on any gross receipts they have. and that's the most regressive part of that tax. and besides that, it's forcing our medical innovators to move their companies overseas. people aren't stupid. they realize if they are going to be taxed in this country and losing money, they are going to move that manufacturing capability to europe and that's already been happening. so this law is taking the medical innovators in this country and everyone knows this country has been leading the way in the world of medical innovation for the last 100
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years. and it's forcing those people to go overseas to do business. that's not good for america. that's taking highly skilled people and asking them to go somewhere else to do business because we have a bad climate for that. i want to talk just a little bit longer this evening about some real health-care reforms. as i mentioned, the president's health-care bill doesn't fix the problem with health-care. the problem with health-care, it's too expensive. and he doesn't -- this bill doesn't make it less expensive. it's becoming more expensive. and when medicare runs out of money, the way they will fix it is by decreasing payments to hospitals and doctors providing you with care, so they aren't going to take care of you either. let me talk about a couple of
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commonsense ideas that we're talking about on this side of the aisle. and the first of those is health-care insurance. i mean, what -- the problem with insurance is, it costs too much. so what can we do to make it cost less? i like to compare the difference between health insurance and car insurance. car insurance, you can choose from 1,000 different companies in this country from florida to california, wisconsin to michigan, and pick a company that suits your needs. and if you don't like the company, switch to another company. right now, employers are in control of most of the health insurance. we need to have a plan that, number one, gives the individual control over the health insurance so you can pick a
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health insurance policy that you like even if the employee next to you chooses a different policy. why should it have to be the same? why should you have to carry insurance for acupuncture. some states actually mandate the price of that. this is why insurance costs so much. your car insurance does not pay for an oil change or new tires. does not pay for routine small expenses that you can expect, because that's what insurance is for. insurance is for a catastrophic event. if you want your car insurance to pay for oil changes and new tires, it's going to cost a lot of money, because that's not the purpose of insurance. the purpose of insurance is to protect you from a catastrophic event. that's why the health savings account is an important component of free-market
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health-care reform because then you will have -- for example, say you are working for somebody, your employer pays into a health savings account, which is your money to use for health-care. and it comes to you tax-free so you aren't paying any taxes on it, same as if your employer was paying for a health insurance policy for you. so that money then could be paying for your routine health-care out of that, but then -- that's money in your account now. so you may want to choose how you spend that a little carefully, because that money is in your health savings account and that is money that belongs to you and use that any way you want for your health-care. that will be there for you and your estate. so you want to be careful with that. if you are going to go get an
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m.r.i. for your shoulder, you may not go to the place your doctor recommends, you may shop around for an m.r.i. because at some places you can get it for $2,500 and another place, you could get one for $600, the same m.r.i. and unless you look around for it, you won't be able to find that deal or know about it because right now you don't care, because your insurance pays for it. if you are taking this money out of a health savings account, you will be shopping more. that's the power of transparency and cost. so looking around to see where you can save money to keep money in your health savings account and shopping for insurance that suits your needs, not the needs of the person next to you, but suits your needs, so you may choose a health insurance that
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is different from your neighbors that suits you just find. you may have chevrolet insurance or cadillac insurance, it's your choice. two things that would diminish the cost of medicine and not involve taking over everything by the government. and actually decrease costs. the other thing that nobody really talks about much in the cost of medicine is the cost of malpractice. and malpractice is something that doctors can be very uncomfortable with, but sometimes injuries do occur. is it a good result for a patient who has been injured to have to go to court for five, six years and then pay for fees for attorneys that are 50% of a judgment after five, six years
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in court? is that justice for an injured patient? you know, frankly, it's not something doctors want to see. doctors want to see -- if there is an injury, let's have it dealt with in an reasonable fashion and have it adjudicated in an administrative law situation where there has been an injury, a panel of people can decide, yes, there has been actual injury and let's make a judgment and let's give that patient a judgment and get it done with, over several months. that would be better and eliminate the entire cost of the trial and attorneys' fees and physicians would like it, patients would like it, because it would give them speedier access to justice. and by doing that, we eliminate a lot of the extra costs that come into medicine.
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right now, you come into the emergency room for something, a pain in your belly, you will get a ct scan immediately. the doctors are afraid of being sued, and doesn't cost you or the patient anything. he is going to order the x-ray, he is going to order a lot of tests just to protect himself. these are some of the hidden costs of malpractice. think of the cost of malpractice, simply the cost of the doctor's insurance, which can be expensive and right now, different states will have different ability to attract physicians because of different means of dealing with malpractice. but for the patient, really, we need to have a different system where they get compensated faster and less aggravation than the system we have now. so i think the main thing that
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we are talking about this side when we talk about health-care reform. let's have a conversation with the american people and maybe you don't agree with some of these ideas how to make our health-care system better and more efficient. i can understand that. let's have a conversation and decide how we can do it better. try a pilot program in one state, allow states to experiment. let's not a -- write a bill of 2,700 pages that nobody read and put it on the american people and say it's going to be great and we don't know what's in it because we haven't read it and then realizing it's a mistake. there needs to be room for improvement in our system. but can't we have this discussion in open fashion?
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other people on the other side should realize that hey, we made a mistake. is it more important to admit you made a mistake. it's not cutting costs and been devastating to the american economy. i have talked to small business owners in my district over the past two years and they have said the same thing, regulations cost money and not be able to higher more people. so i think we have made some real mistakes here in the past. now is the time to address them and move forward and try to make some commonsense decisions. and frankly, i'm happy to hear people from -- from people with ideas. they make some sense and certainly worth trying out. so with that, i want to thank
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the members of the caucus that were here this evening for our evening hour. and i would yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for 30 minutes. mr. gohmert: a guy who as a junior in college when i was a senior in college, helped tutor me to make 98 on the final exam
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of our accounting course, but i would yield such time as he may consume to my friend, mr. flores from texas. mr. flores: i thank my friend for allowing me a few minutes of his time. mr. speaker, i rise today to recognize an american hero, brian bachmann who served as precinct one constable who was killed in the line of duty on august 13, 2012. also, with yesterday being the 11th anniversary of 9/11, i want to recognize first responders all across our country. as i begin to write my reflections for this conversation which i originally delivered on august 18, the words that kept coming to mind to talk about were the words home and celebration. before proceeding, i want to remind us of the heroes of district 17, since i was sworn
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into office on january 5, 2011, 17th congressional district of texas has lost seven military personnel, sergeant burgess, sergeant edward f. dixon iii, p.f.c. detrick, colonel cabrera, nathan anderson and roy tisdale and two law enforcement personnel during that time, cliff taylor from johnson county and constable brian bachman. heaven has been celebrating since each of those arrivals. brian and i both met when we are running for respective office. neither of us ran before, and even though we came from different backgrounds we formed a great friendship. following our victories, we
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remained great friends. each time we were together at various events, we always picked up our conversations where we had left off at the prior events. most of the time we would tease each other. the last time i talked to brian the thursday before he was called home by god. we were volunteers at a food bank feast of caring and teased each other again and began saying i must not be very good politician, because i was already having to run again for office to which i replied, really? from what i've seen, you are the reason we need term elements. following that conversation, we went back to cleaning tables and serving food. i never appreciated the fact that i wouldn't see him on this earth again. this is the brian that i knew, the friendly and always smiling guy who could care less about anyone's title. he loved our community and would anything for it. he was a model public servant,
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however and more importantly, he was a a servant leader that modeled the words of jesus, which state, he lay down his life for his friends. . at the end of each week, i head home from washington to texas. that's where i'm happiest, that's where my wife is. it is close to our sons, our daughter-in-law, and our granddaughter. in short, it is a community that i love. i always celebrate those home commings an my sense of excitement always builds as the airliner approaches bryan/college station. the same thing happened on the amp of august 13. as brian's situation on erlt -- on the afternoon of august 13. as brian's situation on earth would change he knew this day would come, but didn't know
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when, where, or how. but because of his relationship with jesus christ, he knew he'd go to heaven for eternity. the celebration in heaven started immediately on the afternoon he left us. the apostle paul reinforces this when he says, we are confident and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the lord. this is the same knowledge all christians have. we know when our human life ends, we will move to our eternal life with god. at that moment on august 13, brian heard the voices of those who had gone before him welcoming him home but more importantly the one who loved brian enough to die for him held out his nail-pierced hands, embraced him, and said howdy, brian, welcome to your new home. those same hands and arms embrace and comfort brian's family and all of us here now. about 20 years ago, max lucado
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wrote a book titled "the applause of heaven." i'm going to paraphrase the last few paragraphs of that book as follows. you will be home soon. you're closer than ever before. oach moment is a step taken, each breath is a page turned. each day is a mile marker passed a mountain climbed. you are closer to home than you've ever been. just as when my airline flight approaches bryan/college station each week, before you know it, your appointed arrival time will come, you'll descend the ramp and enter the city. you'll see the faces waiting for you, you'll hear your name spoken by those who love you and in the back, behind the anxious crowd, the one who would rather die than live without you will remove his pierced hands from his heavenly robe, his and applaud your arrival. we should be celebrating brian's heavenly homecoming here on earth as well.
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he is another soldier that fought the good fight and got home, where god has told him, well done, good and faithful servant. brian's parents, his wife donna, and his children sam, amanda, colby and caitlin can all take comfort in brian's homecoming because we know that the cross of jesus has won gun. brian's sacrifice should remind us that we are all here to to serve. it is my prayer that brian's homecoming reminds us of all our human frailties and the shortness of our time here on this earth. i am hopeful that all of us have the type of relationship with christ that brian did so we'll have similar home commings with him in heaven. let me close by asking everyone here to pray for and support the bachmann family. please pray for our country during these troubled times. please pray for our military men and women who sacrifice to protect us abroad. and please pray for our first responders like brian bachmann
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who protect us here at home. brian, we celebrate your homecoming. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas will be recognized. mr. gohmert: how much time is remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 25 minutes remaining. 25. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. it's a difficult day, difficult week in the world. and i appreciate the tribute of my friend, mr. flores, to a
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great american hero. i want to pay tribute to our u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three others killed in libya in the service of their country. we grieve for their families, we grieve for their friends, and all who may have come to harm and will come to harm, hopefully no more, but our thoughts and prayers are with them. it is important during times when americans are attacked and american soil, american buildings are attacked, which is what an american embassy is,
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that the world understand that there will be consequences for those who sometimes want to ask, well, aren't you a christian? don't you beeve in turning the other cheek? the answer is, yes. individually. but there is a different charge for the government. there is a different charge for the people who have the responsibility of government and protecting the people and their rights. the united states government has the obligation to protect our citizens, to protect those who are serving this country and as far as our military, to give them everything they need to win whatever it takes, give
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them rules of engagement to allow them to win at all -- whatever it takes. and then come home. so it grieves me much also to see that a time when people are dying, not for a wishy-washy government in washington, d.c. that can't decide what its priorities are, but for the ideals for which america stands and for what it represents, for what it represents to people who yearn for freedom around the world, and it does not help when an administration in response to american attacks on american soil and american individuals, the administration ends up asking americans to
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give up their first amendment rights for which our service members are fighting, it doesn't help when a general calls an american and asks an american to give up your first amendment rights rather than proclaiming to the world, we're the united states military, you have attacked our country, you have attacked our brothers and sisters, and you will pay for that. that -- we took an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, it means that when enemies who are foreign enemies attack on american soil, attack americans, because they're americans, we have an obligation, if they were not
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protected and got hurt or killed, we have an obligation to those who would serve behind them, those who are in this country, to protect them for the future. and that doesn't come when an administration or even a general turns and around -- turns around and says, hey, i know i took an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic but we think by your utilizing your first amendment rights it may be offending people around the world so why don't you just subject your first amendment rights to sharia law. it's ok to burn a bible, that's ok. ok to burn a flag, ok, that's all right. but just, you know, for heaven's sake don't say anything that might offend someone of the islamic religion. well, i personally don't think anybody should do that, but i certainly do think we should defend ourselves against
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radical islamists that want to annihilate this country and destroy our way of life. we have an obligation, we took an oath to do that. not an oath to say, let's give up the constitution i took an oath to defend and subject it to sharia. no, no, no. let's give that up so that maybe the people that are killing americans and the people that are attacking our embassies, maybe they won't feel so offended and maybe they won't kill people. that is not the role of a general. it's not the role of a general to tell former military members that they should never speak out against a commander in chief when as former members of the military, they're in a good place to be able to judge what's going on because it is and should be a crime within the military to create problems
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for good order and discipline by publicly demeaning or condemning anyone in your chain of command. my four years at fort ben, we knew that. president carter drove me crazy with his ineptitude. his ineptitude. his inability to make decisions. to make the tough calls. his pathetic handling of the attack on our american embassy in tehran. for which america still pays for the pathetic way it was handled. for those of us who have been in the military, there's an obligation. when you see the same mistakes being repeated, since you know that those in uniform cannot step up and criticize the chain
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of command, we have an obligation to do that and it is not helpful for anyone with stars on their shoulders to tell former military members, oh, this is not appropriate for you to criticize my boss. how about the personal with stars on their shoulders stepping up and doing the criticism privately on behalf of the soldiers who he is is supposing to be commanding and protecting? there's stories that are coming out, time will tell, this one from fox news today, entitled u.s. officials expect strike on benghazi post coordinated, timed for 9/11 anniversary. u.s. officials are increasingly suspicious that the murder tuesday of the u.s. ambassador to libya, christopher stevens, and three other american
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officials was not the result of a protest against anti-islam film but instead was a coordinated terror strike timed for the 11th anniversary of the september 11 attacks. a senior administration official told fox news that they are exhaustively investigating every angle of the attack in benghazi and an earlier assault on the embassy in cairo, egypt, but there are early signs that the benghazi assault may have been planned. the official caution -- cautioned, though that the administration has not jumped to any conclusions about what happened, saying it would be premature to do so. the article goes on down and it quotes different people, one pete hoekstra, former chairman of the house intelligence committee, who told fox news that the attack appeared to
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have the markings of an al qaeda or al qaeda-affiliated strike. quotes him as saying, we have been talking for years about the desire of al qaeda radical jihaddists to celebrate the anniversary of 9/11. all my backgrounds and conversations i've had over the last 18 hours lead many people to believe that this was just one more -- was just more than a mere coincidence. he noted that the supposed protesters, reportedly angry over a film that ridiculed islam's prophet mohammed didn't attack in tripoli but in benghazi where it so happen ours ambassador is, and they happened to be fully armed and fully equipped. hoekstra noted that al qaeda chief had recently released a video calling on militants to
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attack americans in revenge for the killing of an operative in pakistan. the message said, his blood is calling on you, inciting you to fight and kill the crusaders. hoekstra said the film may have been just a cover to carry out such an attack. to intelligence officials -- two intelligence officials also said the attack looked coordinated. london-based think tank reached the same conclusion saying the benghazi strike appeared to be a well-planned terrorist attack that would have occurred regardless of the demonstration over the film. also the brother of the chief was moved by during the -- nearby during the separate pro test at the u.s. embas in cairo on tuesday. there's so much going on. but the last thing -- one of the last things that people ought to
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do is say it's time to give up first amendment rights. one of the goals that we know for the muslim brotherhood in the united states, it was one of their 10-year goal goals, to subjugate the u.s. constitution to shah -- to shari'a law. there are great patriots who have called upon americans to perhaps make it illegal to speak out and offend or do anything that might offend worshipers of islam. without saying the same thing about any other religion. whether it's buddhist, christian , whatever. if they have their way and if we make the mistake of curtailing
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our constitutional rights to avoid offending people who want to annihilate us anyway and want to have an international caliphate where they rule over us anyway, those they don't destroy, we make a majorer. for those who say there should be no criticism among members of congress, people in government as to the handling by the commander in chief, i think we have an obligation, since we know people in uniform cannot speak out when they see mistakes by their commanders, we have an obligation to them to speak out.
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i do make this pledge to my friends across the aisle. that in any criticism i will endeavor to ensure that i personally do not ever make the kind of wild-eyed allegations against this president that were leveled at president bush. by them. how quickly some people forget. also i understand this is a political season. it is a time when people are running for election and re-election. we all know that. but we have a friend, we have a prime minister of a friendly nation who has been mistreated
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by this administration, who deserves better treatment by this administration. who deserves to have this administration and this president keep their words that have been given to our friendses in israel. -- friends in israel. tanned wouldn't hurt to meet with such -- and it wouldn't hurt to meet with such a leader. we know that in july, that there were people who came to the white house for meetings in the white house, one of whom was a member of a known terrorist organization. and that terrorist was allowed into the white house. now, obviously from the hearing we had with secretary of homeland security janet napolitano, from a response she gave to me, she was ignorant of the fact that we had a terrorist going into the white house for
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meetings. but by the next day, when she testified across in the senate, she had become aware that we had a terrorist -- a member of a terrorist organization meeting in the white house. and apparently this administration intends to continue meeting with members of known terrorist organizations from what was said back in july. and yet the president, though time for meetingsings with known terrorists, will not carve out a little time to meet with the prime minister of our dear friend israel, at a time when israel and many in the united states suspect that iran may be two months away from having the nukes to carry out another holocaust. we don't know the specific days
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there may be. but it would seem that you wouldn't necessarily need to have a rocket to have pinpoint accuracy if it's carrying a nuclear weapon. and now that we have seen trouble on the borders of israel , all around israel almost, it doesn't seem it would be impossible to get one smuggled in. the rockets have been smuggled in by the hundreds that are routinely fired into israel from the gaza strip. that's why there was a legitimate legal block aid -- blockade to try to prevent those type of things can from coming into the gaza strip but they came in anyway and they continue to come in. we owe our friend, our ally, who this president has pressured,
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has cajoled, has ridiculed, has snubbed and taunted by saying, just trust us, we'll take care of iran, don't worry about your national security, yeah, trust us. no nation should be told that they cannot invoke self-defense when their nation is at risk of being annihilated. remember learning in college -- i remember learning in college that president eisenhower had ordered that people from towns surrounding areas of these concentration camps, where when told together -- totaled together, six million jews were killed, murdered, tortured, maimed, but he ordered that the
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people from the towns be required to come help clean up. and the reasoning was so that no one could ever say the holocaust never happened because they cleaned up the atrocity. and i remember thinking, that was a little overboard for general eisenhower, really? you had to rub those people's knowses in such horrible, horrible -- noses in such horrible, horrible affliction? and it hadn't been that long ago i had these thoughts and now we have people like leaders of countries like iran that is about to have nuclear weapons if we don't intercede, who have said just that, the holocaust never happened.
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it was a hoax. unbelievable. it is unbelievable to me that in a matter of decades since world war ii, since that horrible holocaust such an indictment against the human race, that people could do that to one race. it's just almost unfathomable, that even in europe, where there's atrocities -- where those atrocities were committed, and genocide was attempted, that we would see this growing anti-semitism raising its ugly head again. and at the same time anti-semitism is growing even in europe. a civilized area, an educated area. and it grows around the world
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and we see people in the middle east begin to have dreams of a new ottoman empire where every religion will be subjected to some of what we've seen happen in those countries where we helped bring about an arab spring that's turned into a winter nightmare. this is not a time to play petty personal games, to snub leaders of friends, of allies, even when you disagree with them, for heaven's sake. take a little time from a fundraiser, take a little time that you don't go to the golf course and meet with the leader of a country that sees hatred for its people, anti-semitism,
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the racism, the bigotry growing around the world, who is scared for its own existence, who can't be sure that we're going to be there with them because of the actions of this administration. take a little time to meet with them. i mean, it is an inconvenient thing to have to be president when you really are best at running for office. but take some time and be president and meet with our friends. the messages that are going out to those who we seek to make allies for the future is not a good message. the people that have laid down their lives for the american ideal deserve the best we can give them. and so on this day when we
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grieve and our flags are half-mast for the atrocity committed against our ambassador and others, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and our thoughts and prayers are that our leadership will become what it should be to protect america. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. does the gentleman have a motion? mr. gohmert: at this time i move that we do now hereby adjoin. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the motion is a i do notted -- is adopted. accordingly the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow for morning hour
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last night americans received a jolling reminder that freedom remaineds under seize by force around the globe who relish violence over free expression and terror over democracy. the chairman asks all present to rise and observe a moment of silence in honor of ambassador stevens and the american personnel killed in libya.
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>> chris steevepes was the first u.s. ambassador killed in 30 years he and three others killed in that attack were remembered in a number of events across washington. we're going to watch to see what president obama, g.o.p. presidential candidate mitt romney, and secretary of state hillary clinton had to say today about what happened. first, we hear from president obama.
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>> good morning. every day, across the world, american diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests of our nation. often they are away from their families, sometimes they brave great danger. yesterday, four of these extraordinary americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in benghazi. among those killed was our ambassador, chris stevens, as well as foreign service officer shaun smith. we are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. today the american people stand united in holding the families of the four americans in our thoughts and in our prayers. the united states condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. we're working with the government of libya to secure our diplomats and i have directed my administration to
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increase our security and diplomatic posts around the world. make no mistake, we will work with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. since our founding, the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious briefs of others. but there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. none. the world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. already, many libyans have joined us in doing so. this attack will not break the bonds between the united states and libya. libyan security personnel fought back against the attacks -- attackers alongside americans. libyans help some of our diplomats finds safety and they carried ambassador stevens' body to the hospital where we
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tragically learned he had died. it's especially sad that chris stevens died in benghazi because it's a city he helped to save. at the height of the libyan revolution, he led our diplomatic post in benghazi. with characteristic skill, and resolve, he formed partnerships with revolutionaries and helpled them plan a new libya. when the libyan government came to power, he was there to support them he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy and i think both secretary clinton and i relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. he was a role model for all to work with and to the young diplomats who aspire to work in his footsteps. along with his colleagues, chris died in a country that's still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war.
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today the loss of these four americans is fresh but our memories of them linger on. i have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home. yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn nemry of the 9/11 attacks. we mourned with the family whorps lost on that day. i visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in iraq and afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of arlington semithe terry and had the -- cemetery and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at walter reed. then last night, we learned the news of this attack in benghazi. as americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it. to stand up for it. and in some cases lay down
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their lives for it. our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe. no act of terror will shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. today we mourn for more americans who represent the very best of -- for four americans who represent the best of the united states of america. we will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake, justice will be done. but we also know that the lives these americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. these four americans stood up for freedom. and human dignity. they should give every american great pride in the country that they served. and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in
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freedom. and with dignity. we grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory and let us continue their work seeking a stronger america and a better world for all of our children. thank you. may god blets the memory of those we lost and may god bless the united states of america. >> mr. president, was this an act of war. >> what will this do to relations with libya moving forward. >> talk about the trip to las vegas. >> good morning. americans woke up this morning with tragic news and felt heavy hearts as they considered that individuals who have served in
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our diplomatic corps were brutally murdered across the world. this attack on american individuals and embassies is outrageous. it's disgusting. it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor. we mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain. four diplomats lost their life, including the u.s. ambassador, j. christopher stevens, in the attack on the embassy at benghazi libya. with these words, i extend my condolences to the grieving loved ones who have left behind as a result of these who have lost their lives in the service -- service of our nation.
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i know that the people across america are grateful for their service and we mourn their sacrifice. america will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. we'll defend, also, our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. we have confidence in our cause. in america. we respect our constitution. we stand for the principles our nation stand for. we stand for the principles because we recognize these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world. i also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in epjipt instead of condemning their actions. it's never too early for the
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united states government to condemn attacks on americans and and our government. the attacks in libya and egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that american leadership is still sorely needed. in the face of this violence, america cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. american leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of control. we cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests. over the last several years, we've stood witness to an arab spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region but it also poses the potential for peril if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events. we must strive to ensure that
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the arab spring does not become an arab winter. with that, i'm happy to take any questions you may have. steve? >> there was a tersely worded statement last night, do you regret the tone at all? >> the embassy in cairo put out a statement after their grounds had been breached, protesters were inside the grounds they reiterated that statement after the breach. i think it's a -- a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values, that instead, when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response to the united states -- of the united states must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. and apology for america's values is never the right course. >> governor romney, do you think, coming so soon after the
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events really had unfolded overnight, was appropriate, to be weighing in on this as the crisis is unfolding in realtime? >> the white house also issued a statement saying it tried to kisstns -- distance itself from those comments saying they were not reflective of their views. i had the same reaction. these views were inappropriate, they were the wrong course to take when our embassy is -- has been breached by protesters. the first response should not be to say we stand by our comments that suggest that there's something wrong with the right of free speech. >> what did the white house do wrong if they put out a statement saying they disagreed -- >> their administration spoke, the president take responsibility not just for the words from his mouth but also for the words that come from his ambassadors, from his scradmrgs, from his embassies from his state department that clearly -- they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement that came from the administration and the
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embassy is the administration, the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and i think was a severe miscalculation. >> you talk about mixed signals, isn't it a mixed signal when you criticize the administration. >> we have a campaign for presidency and are speaking about the different courses we would take in response to challenges. the president and i have differences of opinion with regard to israel and our policies there, with regards to iran work regards to afghanistan, with regards to syria. we have many differences. we join together in the condemnation of attacks on american embassies and the los of american life and join in sympathy for these people but it's important for me, wrust as it was for the white house last night, by the way, to say that the statements were inappropriate and my -- in my
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view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for american values. >> governor, some people said you jumped the gun in putting that statement out last night and should have waited until more details were available. do you regret having the statement come out so early before we learned about all the things that were happening? >> i don't think we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principles. we express immediately when we feel that the president and his administration have done something which is inconsistent with the principles of america. simply put, having an embassy which has been breached and has protesters on its grounds, having violated the sovereignty of the united states, having that embassy reiterate a statement effectively apologizing for the right of free speech is not the right course for an administration. >> if you had known last night that the ambassador had gotten -- i'm gathering you did not know. >> that came later. >> if you'd known the
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ambassador had died. >> i'm not going to take hypotheticals about what would have been. we responded to the events that happened in egypt. >> governor romney, you're running on your economic know-how, but now that the foreign affairs have been thrust front and center into the campaign, can you talk about why you're the better person to deal with them? >> president obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity with foreign policy. i have three -- my foreign policy has three branches a confidence in our cause, the principles america was based on are not something we shrink from or apologize for. the second is clarity in our purpose chsm is that when we have a foreign policy objective, we describe it honestly and clearly to the american people, to congress and to the people of the world. and number three, resolve in our might. that in those rare
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circumstances, those rare circumstances where we decide it's essential for us to apply military might, that we do so with overwhelming force, that we do so in the clarity of a mission, understanding the nature of the u.s. interest involved, understanding when the mission would be complete, what would be left when it's -- what will be left behind us when that mission has been terminated. these elements, i believe, are essential to our foreign policy and i vant seen them from the president. as i've watched, as i've watched over the last three and a half years, the president has had some successes. he's had some failures of it's a hit or miss approach. but it has not been based upon sound foreign policy. >> governor romney -- how specifically governor romney would a president romney have handled this situation differently than the president did. you spoke out before midnight, before the facts were known. >> i spoke out when the key fact that i referred to was known which was that the
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embassy of the united states issued what appeared to be an apology for american principles. that was a mistake. and i believe that when a mistake is made of that significance you speak out. >> how would you have handled it? >> governor romney. >> yesterday, our diplomatic post in benghazi, libya, was attacked. heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. american and libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. four americans were killed. they included shaun smith, a foreign service information management officer and our ambassador to libya, chris stevens.
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we are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. this is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. we condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we've lost. all over the world, every day, america's diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values. because they believe that the united states must be a force for peace and progress in the world. that these aspirations are worth striving and sacrificing for. alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the
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best traditions of a bold and generous nation. in the lobby of this building, the state department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. our hearts rake over each one -- break over each one and now because of this tragedy, we have new heros to honor and more friends to mourn. chris stevens fell in love with the middle east as a young peace corps volunteer teaching english in morocco. he joined the foreign service, learned languages, won friends for america in distant places, and made other people's hopes his own. in the early day os -- days of the libyan revolution, i asked chris to be our envoy to the
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rebel opposition. he arrived on a cargo ship in the port of benghazi and began building a relationship with libya's revolutionaries. he risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better libya. the world needs more chris stevenses. i spoke with his sister, ann, this morning and told her that he will be remembered as a hero by many nations. shaun smith was an air force veteran. he spent 10 years as an information management officer in the state department. he was posted at the hague and was in libya on a brief temporary assignment. he was a husband to his wife
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heather, with whom i spoke this morning. he was a father to two young children, samantha and nathan. they will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to our country. service that took him from paratorea to bag gad and finally to ben gazza -- benghazi. -- to baghdad and finally to benghazi. the mission that drew him was both noble ands me. we and the people of libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. this is not easy. today, many americans are asking, indeed, i asked myself, how could this happen? how could this happen in a country we helped lib rat in a city we helped save from
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destruction. this question reflects just how complicated and at times how confounding the world can be. but we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. this was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of libya. everywhere chris and his team went in libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. and when the attack came yesterday, libyans stood and fought to defend our post. some were wounded. libyans carried chris' body to the hospital. and they helped rescue and lead other americans to safety.
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and last night, when i spoke with the president of libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible. the friendship between our countries, born out of shared struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack. a free and stable libya is still in america's interest and security. and we will not turn our back on that. nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought to justice. we are working closely with the libyan authorities to move swiftly and surely. we are also working with partners around the world to safeguard other american embassies, consulates, and citizens. there will be more time later
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to reflect, but today we have work to do. there is no higher priority than protecting our men and women wherever they serve. we are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. some have sought to justify this vicious behavior along with the protests that took place at our embassy in cairo yesterday. as a response to inflammatory materials posted on the internet. america's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. but let me be clear. there is no justification for this. none. violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. and as long as there are those who would take innocent life in
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the name of god, the world will never know a true and lasting peace. it is especially difficult that this happened on september 11. it's an anniversary that means a great deal to all americans. every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished. that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues. but september 11 means every more than that. it is a day on which we remember thousands of american he o'-- heroes. the bonds that connect all americans, wherever we are, on this earth, and the values that see us through every storm. and now it is a day on which we
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will remember shaun, chris, and their colleagues. may god bless them and may god bless the thousands of americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress. and a force that has always stood for human dignity, the greatest force the world has ever known. may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. >> reporters have been tweeting updates about libya.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> the flag at the u.s. capitol was lowered today for the four americans killed yesterday. the president ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff at all u.s. government and federal buildings. >> members of congress reacted to the assassination of the
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four american diplomats. we'll start with senate leaders harry reid and mitch mcconnel. disturbed when late last night, and really saddened to learn of the death of ambassador chris stevens and three other american personnel in an attack on the u.s. consolate in libya and would be happy to talk by name about them but their names have not been released at this stage. it does take away how important these jobs are of these foreign service officers. i join president obama in condemning these senseless acts of violence. my thoughts are with the families of those who were killed in this horrible attack it is too often forgotten that american diplomats risk their lives on a daily basis. madam president, when i have had the good fortune since my days
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in the foreign affairs committee in the house to travel the world, i always make sure wherever i go i visit with foreign service personnel. they're every place. there's no group of people, i tell them that every timist opportunity to visit with them, no one does our country more in a positive sense than these foreign service officers. they work so hard and duty stations most of the times are very, very difficult. take, for example, this good man, ambassador stevens, who was just confirmed a fuel months ago -- a few months ago, he was a peace corps volunteer, he taught english. he's fluent in arabic, french and english. he served in the foreign service in jerusalem, in cairo, saudi arabia